There’s something fishy going on in Dave the Diver! The scuba diving, sushi restaurant managing RPG is developed and published by South Korean-based Mintrocket, a subsidiary of Nexon. Originally released back in June for PC, it will be released on the Nintendo Switch on October 26th 2023.
Today we’ll be taking a look at the Steam version which will require 10 GB of available space, and will cost you £16.99/$19.99 at the time of writing.
Here Fishy Fishy
Dave the Diver is described by Mintrocket as a casual, single-player adventure RPG featuring deep-sea exploration and fishing during the day and sushi restaurant management at night.
Overall, that’s the game in a nutshell. Dave the Diver is a simple game on the surface, but take a deeper look and the little pixel-art aquatic RPG has so much more to offer.
The game starts with the titular Dave receiving a phone call from a character called Cobra and proceeds to jump on a plane. After that, he meets Cobra on a boat in a lagoon, who talks about a business proposition, running a Sushi Restaurant. The lagoon, called the “Blue Hole” whose terrain and ecology change with every dive is teeming with rare fish and mysteries. Dave dives into the Blue Hole and it is here we’re instructed on the basic controls, swimming and attacking. At first, you have a knife and a harpoon at your disposal. But more gear and weapons will become available as you play through.
After your first venture into the Blue Hole, you visit the restaurant. It’s here you’re introduced to the lovable sushi-snob Bancho. All of a sudden, the restaurant is struck by an earthquake. With no choice but to open in its post-earthquake state to recoup the money for repairs, Bancho sends you back to the Blue Hole to catch more fish. After this, you’ll return to the restaurant where you will prepare the menu with the fish you caught. You’ll serve customers green tea and sushi, prepared by Bancho and bring in a little bit of money to help towards the cost of repairs.
We’ve got to go Deeper!
After this the game kicks off properly, revealing there are more mysteries to the Blue Hole than anyone initially realised. You’ll be contacted by a variety of characters who will ask you to acquire certain things for them. Of course, this is another little way to earn money, as well as rewards such as ingredients or upgrades. As I have said, more equipment becomes available as you play through. But you’ll also have a chance to upgrade pretty much everything. From your diving gear and equipment to the restaurant’s interior, dishes available and staff.But to do this you’ll need money, which you can earn from selling found treasure, completing sidequests and of course, working in the restaurant.
One thing you’ll definitely want to upgrade is your oxygen tank to help you dive for longer. If you run out of oxygen, you’ll be rescued but you’ll only be able to bring back one item. Oxygen functions as your HP bar as well, so if you’re attacked, your oxygen will be depleted. There’s a level of resource management to the game, with oxygen reserves, ammo and carry weight all being limited. You’ll need to explore the Blue Hole to uncover its mysteries, but you also have to ensure you have a steady flow of fish to run your Sushi Restaurant.
Rolling in the Deep
There is an absolute tonne of content in Dave the Diver to keep you entertained. Even though the game offers a nice variety in its core elements, there are also a whole host of side activities and minigames, such as photography, farming and seahorse racing. My favourite was probably the knockoff Pokémon Go app. In my time with the game, I was never bored. The characters were all well-written and interesting. The missions were all diverse and the boss fights keep you on your toes. The game has a lot of heart and a lot of humour.
Graphics & Audio
Now, I’m someone who is, to be frank, terrified of the ocean. Do you know the Leviathan DLC for Mass Effect 3? Yeah, that was a nightmare for me. Think I’ll ever play Subnautica? Think again. Despite that, I couldn’t stop myself from exploring the underwater caverns of the Blue Hole. This game is absolutely stunning. What it achieves with its pixel art design is nothing short of breathtaking. The way each scene is illuminated. Whether it’s the neon glow of the restaurant, or the sun breaking through the ocean surface, each area is distinct and just screams to be explored. It looks beautiful.
Dave the Diver should take you around 25 hours to complete. Though if you’re going for a completionist run you can expect the figure to be closer to 50. With the sheer amount of content it offers, I can imagine a lot of people will want to go for a completionist run just to keep playing. And I don’t blame them, not one bit. This could be a great game for the Steam Deck and I may even consider picking it up for my Switch on the 26th.
If I’m being completely honest, I couldn’t find fault with the game at all. Dave the Diver is a fantastic game. The setting is beautiful, the characters are funny and interesting and its content is diverse. Yes, it can get infuriating when you’re killed and lose your haul. But that’s on me, not the game. It’s an enchanting tale about a man’s love of the sea… and sushi! 7.8 out of 10. Too much water.
Dave the Diver lures a Thumb Culture Platinum Award for itself.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.